02 February 2005


I watched The Alamo on DVD today, and was quite impressed with it. Strategypage provided a review recently which pretty much states what I think (lazy reviewer, aren't I?), but I did like the added touch of continuing the storyline on to the battle of San Jacinto. Whereupon the Mexican leader gets the most humiliating treatment I think a dictator got until Saddam was hauled from his fox hole.

It was certainly better than Gods and Generals, which I also looked at recently. I quite like civil war epics, and enjoyed Gettysburg, but somehow Gods and Generals falls short of the earlier films achievement, despite having the same backing in its production, and a similar attention to historical detail.

...and another thing....
The internet is certainly a wonderful time waster. Watching these films left yours truly pondering; when did the last veterans of these wars pass away? Just how far out of living memory are they?

Years ago I would have been left without an answer to a question like that for, well, years. Thanks to the wonders of google, though, we find out that;
-the last union veteran was Albert Woolson, who died 8/2/56, age 109,
-the last confederate was John Salling, who died 3/16/58, age 112.

This doesn't entirely satisfy my curiosity; it seems that Woolson never saw any combat, and neither did Salling. John Salling's story has also been disputed by some who think he may not have been honest about his background. So now I'm left pondering who the last combat veteran was. And this time, even google has failed me (so far). I can't work out who the last surviving veteran of San Jacinto was either. And before you think trying to find out whom the last surviving Alamo veteran was is a complete no-brainer, consider the case of the couriers who got out of the beleagured fort. They where certainly veterans, so who where they and what became of them, I wonder?